Mangrove microbial communities and their associated activities have profound impact on biogeochemical cycles. Although microbial composition and structure are known to be influenced by biotic and abiotic factors in the mangrove sediments, finding direct correlations between them remains a challenge. In this study we have explored sediment bacterial diversity of the Sundarbans, a world heritage site using a culture-independent molecular approach. Bacterial diversity was analyzed from three different locations with a history of exposure to differential anthropogenic activities. 16S rRNA gene libraries were constructed and partial sequencing of the clones was performed to identify the microbial strains. We identified bacterial strains known to be involved in a variety of biodegradation/biotransformation processes including hydrocarbon degradation, and heavy metal resistance. Canonical Correspondence Analysis of the environmental and exploratory datasets revealed correlations between the ecological indices associated with pollutant levels and bacterial diversity across the sites. Our results indicate that sites with similar exposure of anthropogenic intervention reflect similar patterns of microbial diversity besides spatial commonalities. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.